The National Rifle Association is best known for being a defender of the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. And that’s true.
However as Erica Rhoad, the NRA’s Director of Hunters Leadership Forum and Hunting Policy at the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action pointed out, “While the core of the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, hunting as a great deal to do with the 2nd Amendment.”
Rhoad was one of the Keynote Speakers during the annual meeting of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) that was held recently in Wichita, Kansas.
“I‘m often asked what does the NRA do for hunting? While we are best known for our victories on the right to self-defense, we do a lot for hunting too,” Rhoad said.
Rhoad went on to say, “The NRA is best known for its political battles. However the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) is home to the legal and legislative wing of the NRA. It includes lobbyists, lawyers, researchers, grassroots activists, public relations specialists, and policy experts. We have lobbyists who cover every level of government.”
Much of the work accomplished by the NRA-ILA goes unnoticed, according to Rhoad.
“More important than the pro-hunting bills passed are the anti-hunting bills you’ve never heard of,” she said. “That’s because the NRA stopped them before they saw the light of day.”
In a number of other high profile cases, issues directly affecting hunters were being addressed.
Rhoad explained the importance of the Congressional Review Act bill repealing an Obama Administration’s regulation that would have usurped the State of Alaska’s authority to manage their own wildlife.
“The NRA is also working with the Department of the Interior as well as pro-hunting and conservation organizations to open more federal lands to hunting and recreational shooting,” Rhoad said.
The fact is that the NRA fights to protect legal firearms, some of which are not used for hunting, and the ammunition they consume, to provide funding for wildlife conservation.
Rhoad pointed to the excise tax placed on firearms and ammunition. Eighty percent of those funds are distributed back to the state wildlife agencies across the country.
Rhoad said, “Without the NRA protecting the rights of shooters, there would be far less funding for wildlife conservation.”
And there is a question of game management. Rhoad explained, “When scientific data told us that wolves had recovered, along with grizzlies in certain areas, extremists sued to keep them on the protected list. We fought back with the help of numerous other groups and individuals. As a result, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are now allowed to manage their own wolf populations.”
Across the nation and abroad a number of wildlife related issues are brewing. Extremists will eventually try to impose those same ideas here in the U.S. Even in Canada there is a movement brewing to ban lead ammunition there.
Rhoad went on to say, “The NRA is fighting every day on multiple fronts on behalf of hunters. We have a lot to celebrate and the future is promising. But that does not mean there is time to rest. The anti-hunters never let up and neither can we.”
So what does the NRA do for hunting? Probably more that most realize.
Now is a great time to introduce a new shooter to the sport. And think about this. If just one in three of America’s recreational shooters adds one new person to the shooting sports, we’ll secure a strong future for generations to come.
Remembering all the thrills and excitement recreational shooting has given you, join the +ONE movement and invite someone to the range today. Share your experience with posts on social media. To learn more, Google PlusOneMovement and learn how to become a shooting mentor and have a lot of fun at the same time.
(Charlie Burchfield is an active member and past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, Outdoor Writers Assoc. of America and the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers. Gateway Outdoors e-mail is GWOutdoors@comcast.net)